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Draft Recommendation to be adopted by the Human Rights Committee on 26 January 2017 and by the Conference of INGOs on 27 January 2017
Business, Human Rights, Co-development and Migrations
The Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) of the Council of Europe:
A large number of companies, with headquarters in Europe, invest in Africa, Asia or Latin America in the development of infrastructures and in the exploitaton of natural or human resources of these continents (oil and gas, mines, forestry, agricultural land...), thus creating in the countries in which they invest and for their populations a significant development potential;
But concerned by
- the situation created by the infringement of Human Rights by these companies in their operations that prevent the development of the countries concerned, and even deteriorate their standards of living, possibly leading to a rural depopulation with its resulting consequences;
the situation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that can also suffer from an exploitation of their natural resources when they do not take into account their projects for economic, social and environmental development.
Considering that :
the ensuing economic situation in these countries makes it impossible for many families to live there in keeping with the criteria for dignity set out in international treaties and especially in the European Convention of Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the European Social Charter. It is due to this shortcoming that these people constitute a large proportion of immigration into Europe due to their hopes of finding sufficient resources for a greater better well-being, in spite of the high degree of unemployment existing in our continent;
transnational companies must respect Human Rights and contribute to a fair distribution of local wealth and the profits drawn from the exploitation of these resources, allowing local people to live in dignity on their land and thus reduce migration rates;
Supporting the Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3 of the Committee of Ministers that it welcomes;
Reaffirming the terms of the European Convention of Human Rights and Part 1 of the revised European Social Charter;
Taking note of the convergence with them of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples1, of Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples2, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 3 and of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises4;
Supporting the very positive actions carried out by NGOs such as: « The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative5 », « Publish What You Pay6 », the « European Coalition for Corporate Justice7 » campaign, that of the Treaty Alliance, the plateforme Paradis fiscaux et judiciaires8.
The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe:
- undertakes to mobilise the NGOs to request the government of their countries to ratify the measures of Article A of Part III of the revised European Social Charter and the Protocol for collective complaints, so as to grant to the employees of the countries in which European companies operate equivalent rights to those of their employees in Europe;
- Endorses the recommendation
CM/Rec(2016)3 of the Committee of Ministers on Human Rights and Business and undertakes to promote it;
undertakes to mobilise its relevant national and local NGOs to monitor that the member States of the Council of Europe take legislative and regulatory measures and introduce the procedures required for the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendation of the Committee of Ministers;
Note by Grégory THUAN DIT DIEUDONNÉ (a member of the WG)
In my opinion, we should call on NGOs with their headquarters or their networks in EU member States to lobby the EU to adopt a binding text in this respect.
urges the representatives of civil society and the member organisations of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe to encourage their national and local networks [that are located in a member State of the European Union] to monitor that the Union adopts a directive establishing the framework for the implementation of these recommendations;
Notes : 1) the part in italics has caused some discussion since it makes a distinction between the INGOs with members in the EU and the others.
2) verify if it can be maintained and is considered appropriate
Note of Grégory THUAN DIT DIEUDONNÉ:
It is strategially essential to demand the EU (on whose territory the majority of headquarters of European multinationals are domiciled) to legislate in this matter.
Ambitiously, it would be appropriate to request the EU to adopt a Community regulation, binding in law, or, at least, a sufficientlyprecise Directive that allows a certain degree of flexibility to member States.
undertakes after review, to support local, national and international citizen initiatives aiming to implement Convention 169 of the ILO, and specially the «Free prior informed consent» (FPIC) that it imposes in its articles 6 and 7, and consequently to inform local inhabitants about all details of their industrial installations projected and the resulting ramifications, and not to start work until after obtaining the consent of the local inhabitants.
Text to be finalised after consultation with jurists and the Danish Institute: is it appropriate and positive to request a directive from the European Union?
The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe recommends the member States of the Council of Europe to:
1. ensure that companies whose headquarters are subject to their jurisdiction and which operate in the rest of the world comply with the Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3 of the Committee of Ministers in addition to the conventions, declarations and documents of the UN, ILO and OECD quoted above; that they respect Human Rights everywhere in the world, repair any infringements of these rights and offer their employees in all their affiliates working conditions in accordance with these rights;
(Note : we must ensure that the drafting is legally correct, that « Human Rights is sufficient or must we clarify the UN Declaration, the CoE Charter, etc..)
WG note: this part really is very vague and imprecise.
Are we only recommending the member States to «ensure» or are we demanding they legislate on the question.
What is the meaning of «companies that operate everywhere in the world»? Directly? Indirectly? By Head Office? By their affiliate? What about subcontractors and purchasing organizations?
Which are the texts referred to? Especially, which are the « UN documents »?
I think this must be expressed with much greater clarity.
2. require multinational enterprises with headquarters in their jurisdiction that exploit natural and human resources to implement:
ILO Convention 169, and particularly the « Free, prior and informed consent » (FPIC)9 that it imposes in articles 6 and 7, and consequently to inform local inhabitants with full details of the industrial installations projected together with the resulting ramifications and not to start work until after obtaining consent from the local inhabitants;
the application of CM/Rec(2016)3 of the Committee of Ministers in their countries
WG note: ibid: Why only the ILO Convention?
3. require companies under the jurisdiction of their countries and intervening in the rest of the world to publish what they pay to the countries whose natural resources they exploit;
WG note: too vague!
referred to which countries? Their headquarters?
« what they pay to the countries » ? What does this mean? Pay what? Taxes? Social and professional charges?
WG note Hugo CASTELLI EYRE: This is described above in links 5 EITI and 6 Publish What You Pay and in the European Parliament Directives on Accountancy and Transparency.
4. disseminate the Recommendation
CM/Rec(2016)3 of the Committee of Ministers, to make known the Guiding Principles of the UN and the OECD Guidelines, to organise public forums about methods of implementation, to take legislative and regulatory measures for their implementation by companies with headquarters in their countries and to evaluate every 5 years the impact of these measures.
Corrected version of 7th January 2017 with notes